Saturday, May 31, 2008

Book Review: Shout Down the Moon

I picked this book up at the library because I liked the cover.

In this case, judging a book by it's cover worked. Patty is the main character, a gutsy singer struggling to find herself while juggling her career, motherhood, and being in a relationship. I thought this book would fall into a lot of cliches, but it took some interesting and surprising turns. I especially liked reading how Patty overcomes her abusive past, and her touching relationship with her son Willie.


Friday, May 30, 2008

sugar snap peas



Yum!

I just ate a huge bowl of these, here are the remaining few.

They were so mutantly huge and sugary sweet I felt inspired to blog about them.

I ate so many I'm too full to eat the rest of my dinner.

(Ooops, and I forgot to share them...)

Special thanks to Planet Organics. They deliver organic, mostly local food to my doorstep every other week.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Book Review: The Girl in Hyacinth Blue

I was about halfway done reading this book when I realized I had already read it:)

Which is not to say it's not memorable---it's actually quite good. It reminds me of the movie The Red Violin, in which we follow a violin over the centuries, as it passes from owner to owner.

In this book, it is a painting by Vermeer that is passed on through the generations. Each chapter is devoted to a different owner, and tells the story of how the painting ended up in their hands, and was passed on.

This is another small book (5X7), great for toting around, and a quick read!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Book Review: The Girl Who Played Go

This book is at once hauntingly beautiful and brutally violent. As the Japanese invade China in the 1930's, a young girl and a soldier try to escape the harsh realities of their lives by playing the board game Go.

Each chapter is only about two pages long, and alternates between the girl's story and the soldier's. The book itself is tiny (only 5X7 in hardcover), so it was easy to carry it around in my bag and read it on the train. It's a quick read, and filled with the author's gorgeous prose: "There is no moon tonight, and the wind wails like a new-born baby. Up above us, a god confronts a goddess, scattering the stars."

When I finished this book, I wanted to cry, drink sake, and order up some veggie dumplings at my local Chinese restaurant, not necessarily in that order.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

bye bye, nalgene bottle



I love my water bottle. It's pink, and it's easy to carry.

So it's with great sadness that I read that the plastic can leach bisphenol A (BPA), a suspected hormone disruptor. The older the bottle, and the more it is washed in hot water, the higher the risk of leaching.

Check, and check. My bottle is about 5 years old, and gets thrown in the dishwasher every other day. To think of the damage this has done my body gives me indescribable joy.

For a depressing article on the risks of BPA, click here.

So what to do?

The latest craze is stainless steel bottles. But things continue to get complicated. Sigg and Klean Kanteen are the two popular competing brands. You can read some great reviews comparing these two bottles here.

To review these reviews: Klean Kanteen makes the water taste metallic, and the top can sometimes leak. Sigg is made better with no leaking and no metallic taste...but is made with enamel coated aluminum.

Warning: aluminum could possibly be linked to Alzheimer's disease.

Sigh.

So it looks like the metallic-tasting Klean Kanteen wins. I plan on coughing up some dough and replacing my death-inducing nalgene, hopefully before the next study comes out with more life-altering news.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

zookidooki



This little critter looks great over the fireplace.



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

nudibranch!


Oh joy! I just got this month's National Geographic magazine, and there are some gorgeous photos of nudibranchs!

You can check out their fun video here.

Nudibranch, nudibranch, nudibranch.

What a fabulous name.

Monday, May 19, 2008

If Einstein didn't believe in religion...

neither do I!

Most people will agree, Einstein was wicked smart.

In a later dated 1954
, Einstein calls the Bible "childish", and religion "childish superstition".

For all those who wonder how he really felt, Einstein goes on to say that "the word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses".

Any questions?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Popping popcorn the old-fashioned way.



For a while there, I was totally addicted to microwave popcorn. It's so addictively good...but I knew it was crappy chemical flavoring that was making it taste that way.

Then came news of the guy who got "popcorn lung", a rare lung disease from the chemical flavoring of microwave popcorn.

It was time to give it up, but not before I finished off the massive, bulk box we got from Costco.

It took such little effort to buy a bag of kernels, heat them up in a pan of oil, and ohmygod, I made the best tasting popcorn ever.

Chemical free!



Thursday, May 8, 2008

SFGate Headline: Flame retardant found in peregrine falcon eggs


Latest news from California.

Very sad, very scary.

For the birds, and also humans who are breathing in the same air.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Product Review: Crazylibellule and The Poppies: Shanghaijava Lilas Spiritual


I *love* this perfume stick.

The name is a mouthful, but the product is a cute little colorful tube of yummy-smelling lilacs.

There are six other scents in this collection. I tried a few of them, but the lilas spiritual is my favorite.





Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Movie Review: Lars and the Real Girl

Who would have thought that this movie about the relationship between a painfully shy guy and a life-size Real Doll he buys could be so incredibly deep, touching, funny, tender and bittersweetly sad?

It's all that and then some. The writing is witty and clever, and all the actors bring a warmth and lovableness to their characters. Especially Lars, the main character, whom you just want to hug in all his social awkwardness. And yes, you will even grow to love Bianca, the doll that is the center of Lars' life.

Monday, May 5, 2008

My Little Pony

Ah, Italy. Just returned from a fabulous trip. I ate a lot of pasta, drank a lot of wine. Just when I thought my day couldn't possibly get any better, who do I run into?



Oh yeah. My Little Pony randomly tied to a railing.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Aveda Not-So-Moisturizing Lotion



I used Aveda's moisturizing lotion while I was traveling, and it totally dried my hands out!

I'm talking parched, sucked-the-moisture-right-out-of-the-skin-dryness.

A ploy by the company so that you keep using it, thinking it's helping your hands when it's really drying them out?